HRC Blog

Summer Success: Nearly 1,000 Immigrants Apply for Citizenship

This post comes from HRC Diversity Program Associate Hyacinth Alvaran:

In June and July, HRC steering committees and coalition partners helped nearly 1,000 legal permanent residents in seven cities apply for citizenship and learn more about the naturalization process. These cities were Phoenix, Portland, New York, Dallas, Boston, Minneapolis, and Hyattsville, MD. The citizenship workshop in Minneapolis was a first for the city, spearheaded by HRC’s Twin Cities steering committee. Coalitions in these cities organized citizenship workshops under different initiatives, including the ya es hora civic engagement campaign, the National Partnership for New Americans, and the Greater Boston Citizenship Initiative. All these initiatives aim to help the 8.5 million eligible legal permanent residents apply to become citizens, many of whom are Latino.

HRC has been a partner on these citizenship workshops since 2009, when it joined the ya es hora coalition. HRC was and is currently the only LGBT organization in this and similar coalitions that serve the Latino community. Since then, HRC has participated in approximately 70 citizenship workshops across the country.

According to HRC Diversity Co-Chair Fernie Sanchez in Dallas, a lesbian volunteer recruited two of her straight co-workers to help at the workshop. All three commented on how impressed they were by the quality of the workshop and how good they felt helping others on the path to citizenship, and promised to recruit more co-workers for the next workshop. A straight couple volunteered because they recently moved to the area and were looking for an organization that promotes LGBT equality while directly impacting their local community; they have a lesbian daughter, and even though it took them some time to accept her sexuality, now they are full-fledged supporters of LGBT equality and want to get more involved with HRC. Indeed, many of the 100 volunteers whom HRC recruited in Dallas and across the country were straight allies. These workshops are a few of the rare spaces in which they get to support both LGBT and immigrant communities at the same time.

This summer’s success would not have been possible without the support of HRC’s steering committees in these seven cities. HRC also thanks the following Latino, immigrant, religious, media, labor, business, educational, and governmental organizations for their collaboration: NALEO Educational Fund, Mi Familia Vota, Univision, LUCHA (Living for Change in Arizona), Univision Radio, Univision 33, La Voz, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, CAUSA, Immigration Counseling Services, Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees, First Congressional United Church, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, Assembly Member Guillermo Linares, Catholic Migration Office, Make the Road NY, Proyecto Inmigrante, Recuerdo 107.9 FM / 107.1 FM, International Rescue Committee, Casa Del Inmigrante Fort Worth, Casa Durango Dallas, Univision 23 KUVN Dallas – Fort Worth, Dallas Peace Center, GOTV, RITA, 1270 AM: La Voz Del Pueblo, Catholic Charities of Dallas Inc., 49 Telefutura, Nuestra Sr. Del Pilar Catholic Church, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, VietAID, Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, the Minnesota Literacy Council, International Education Center, Neighborhood House, SEIU Local 26, CASA de Maryland, and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. To these organizations, “¡Mil Gracias!”

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